ACR's Conservation Science Intensive inspires young women to develop a stronger connection to themselves, each other, and the natural world while learning about and practicing land conservation, stewardship, nature writing, and illustration. This collaborative expeditionary program challenges participants - individually and collectively - physically, creatively, and intellectually, as they work with and learn from ACR’s highly-skilled female conservation biologists, ecologists, educators and guest artists, writers, and musicians. Daily activities include extensive time on the land, natural history skill building (tracking, botany, birding, working with maps/GPS, etc.), stewardship & conservation projects, directed journaling, solo time, team building, and group discussion, all within a framework of strong female leadership - a culture of safety, encouragement, loving kindness, and mutual respect on all levels and at all times.

Dates: July 20 - 24, 2020

Application Information:

The application period is now open! We are accepting applications through March 10, 2020. Please read the directions below to submit an application packet. 

The application process consists of three parts:

  1. WRITTEN APPLICATION: The completion of a participant application. Submitted by 5 PM, March 10, 2020. Click here to access the written application.
  2. ONE RECOMMENDATION FORM: All applicants must request a community leader or teacher who is not a relative to submit a recommendation form to be submitted by 5 PM March 10, 2020. Click here to access the recommendation form.
  3. 30 MINUTE INFORMAL PHONE INTERVIEW: In this interview, we will ask questions so that we can get to know you better and understand how you would fit into the Conservation Science Intensive community. Interviews will be held on March 20th and 21st. Please indicate if pre-existing plans prohibit you from completing a phone interview on these dates. After CSI program leaders receive the applicant's written application and recommendation form, we will contact you to set up an interview slot.

Acceptance: Applicants will be notified of their acceptance before April 3, 2020. To attend applicants must send in health forms and waivers within two weeks of receiving these forms.

*CSI accepts applications from young women, ages 14 to 17, who will be entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school in Fall 2020.

If you'd like to share this opportunity with others, feel free to distribute our 2020 Flyer

In a landmark 2015 study, the National Science Foundation found that American women earn 50 percent of science and engineering degrees yet hold just 28 percent of jobs in these fields. In conservation science, women hold only 22 percent of jobs. Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) is proud to be bucking the national trend: Women hold eight of twelve conservation science positions at our organization.

ACR’s philosophy of “Conservation in Action” means that we are committed to catalyzing in others the desire to understand and care for the land. ACR believes that leveling the playing field means not only inspiring and equipping young women to access and enjoy natural lands, but also supporting them to cultivate a sense of belonging to and curiosity about the natural world, and a desire to engage with stewarding the wild. ACR has a highly competent and deeply committed team of female biologists, ecologists, writers, and artists who see this as both a privilege and a responsibility - mentoring young women in conservation science, supporting their educational and professional goals.

This 5-day, 4-night residential program is based out of ACR's Martin Griffin Preserve on Bolinas Lagoon near Stinson Beach and includes day trips to some of ACR's other preserves and local protected lands. While learning and working together, participants explore topics including natural history, conservation, leadership, outdoor skills, biological illustration, research design and ethics, nature writing, equity in science, and models of female leadership.

Funding provided by foundations and donors allows ACR to offer this program free-of-charge.

Questions? Contact Program Staff at or 415-868-9244 extension 116 or 310.